Luchtfietsers Wadden Cycling Tour 2023

Give voice to the Waddensea

Three weeks of cycling from Texel to Esbjerg

Do you also love the Wadden Sea? But are you worried about the future of this beautiful area? Do you like to cycle? Then join De Luchtfietsers Wadden Cycling Tour from the 1st to 22nd of July (or part of it)!

It is unbelievable and unacceptable that the Wadden Sea area is in danger of being destroyed by the climate crisis. That is why we are cycling for three weeks along the Wadden Sea, from the island of Texel to Esbjerg in Denmark.

Without making noise and emissions we open up to all sounds, smells and views. We talk about how we can live in balance with nature. This is how we give the Wadden a voice!


The Wadden Sea region is protected by law on all sides. And yet harmful activities such as gas- and salt-extraction are still permitted. That is why we are getting on our bicycles this summer for a tour along the entire Wadden coast, from Texel to Esbjerg in Denmark. In this way we want to give the Wadden area itself a voice!

We are going to do this by listening: to what the sea, the wind and the animals have to tell us, by listening to residents of the Wadden Sea region and engaging in conversation with experts; with scientists, but also, for example, with indigenous representatives of other nature reserves and ecosystems around the world. To learn how we participate in nature in a responsible and healthy way.

As far as we are concerned, the bicycle is pre-eminently the means of transport to (learn to) listen to the Wadden Sea. On the bicycle we become aware of the elements and learn about the possibilities and limitations of our own bodies. After all, as physical beings we are also part of nature. And while cycling, there is an opportunity to talk with each other and take time for contemplation and reflection.

Wadden Cycling Tour 1978

Already in the summer of 1978, 45 years ago this year, a few hundred concerned people from the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark (including Environmental Defense, the Wadden Sea Association and German and Danish organizations) cycled from Den Helder to Esbjerg. They wanted to call attention to the threats to the Wadden Sea at that time: toxic discharges, overfishing and economic and military activities in and around the Wadden Sea caused damage to this ecologically unique area.

In the meantime

Since then, the Wadden has been declared a Unesco World Heritage Site. But still economic and military interests take precedence over the ecological value of the Wadden area. More strongly: the Wadden is seriously threatened by the consequences of “our” Western (over)consumption, in the form of climate change, pollution, tourism and subsidence due to the extraction of raw materials under the sea.

That’s why once again on the pedals!

That’s why, 45 years after the first tour, De Luchtfietsers are once again cycling along the Wadden coast from the Netherlands to Denmark. How is the Wadden Sea area doing now? What are the current threats to the Wadden Sea? But also: what has become of the activist initiatives of that time? How do the cyclists of the past look back on the tour in 1978? With cyclists from then and young activists of today, we push on the pedals and take action.

So, join the ride!


The sign-up for the Wadden Cycling Tour is open!

An extraordinary journey of ...

Nights of sleep
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Lovely cyclists

🚲 An impression of our previous cycling journey 🚴

In 2021 we cycled with a great group of people from Amsterdam to the climate summit (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland.

The Plan

July 1, 2023 we start on Texel. Then in three weeks we will cycle about 1.200 kilometers along the Wadden Sea, to Esbjerg in Denmark. The total trip will take 21 days, divided into 3 stages of about 1 week each. You can sign up for 1, 2 or 3 of the stages.

Details such as departure times and locations will be announced later.

Getting to know each other

Before we get on our bikes on July 1, we will organize a number of (online) meetings. To get acquainted, to share ideas, and (cycling) experiences. As a collective, we want to make sure everyone feels safe, comfortable and heard. Together we create a ‘safe space’ and also a ‘brave space’, where everyone dares to speak out and address others. Together we are De Luchtfietsers!


We are a group of enthusiastic and spirited climate activists. We organize the Waddentocht as volunteers. We try to do this as well as possible, but we are not a commercial travel agency. We all cycle on our own responsibility.

As an organizing group we prepare many things, but we will have to work together along the way as a cycling community. We form a collective in which we help each other, support, motivate and have fun. In this way we will make the Wadden Cycling Tour a extraordinary cycling journey.

Regarding the cycling

The average daily distance is about 75 kilometers. For some this is a piece of cake, for others it is quite a challenge. Yet we think that to participate you do not necessarily have to be in great shape or be super-sporty. Everyone can participate at his or her own pace. It is summer and the days are long, so take your time.

However, it is important that your bike is in good shape. Although there will be plenty of people along who can fix a tyre or repair a broken chain, here too we assume personal responsibility.

Electric: green or not green?

Although there are reasonable doubts about the sustainability and environmental impact of electric bikes, we do not rule out participation with an electric bike. We understand that for some this is the only way to participate. The same goes for e.g., mobility scooters. Just be aware of the daily distances and the range of your battery! You are responsible for the (sustainable) charging of your e-bike or mobility scooter.

And as for the impact of electric mobility on the environment and climate: on the road we have plenty of time to discuss this with each other 😉


Along the way we plan a number of activities. But as a cycling collective, we are of course open to your ideas! Would you like to share your knowledge or experience with the other cyclists during the Wadden trip? Would you like to organize a cold Wadden dive every now and then, guide a meditation session, hold a dance or singing evening or organize a debate? Or hold a campaign at a ‘wrong company’ along the way? Please do! Feel free to contact us through email.


Every day a vegan dinner will be prepared at the destination for that day by some great people who will travel with us.

Breakfast and lunch are not centrally provided. So you will have to arrange that yourself or together with others. 🙂

A global overview of the journey we will make by bicycle.


We try to arrange a place to sleep for every night. This will sometimes be a youth hostel or perhaps a gymnasium, sometimes a sports field and sometimes we may spend the night in people’s homes. In any case, assume that these are basic sleeping places.

If you want or need more comfort, or don’t feel like lying awake because of the snoring around you, you can choose to arrange the overnight stays yourself via, for example, WarmShowers, BnBs, hostels, etc. Then select that option in the registration form.


We will share a packing list with the things we think you need later, but here’s a (very short) summary of the important things to think about:

  • Bicycle (+ spare tires and repair kit)
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Tent
  • Cycling clothing (trousers or underpants with padding against sore buttocks, sweat shirts, etc.)
  • etc.

The costs

We want to make the Wadden Tour as accessible as possible. Also for people with a small wallet. We therefore apply the principle of solidarity: we bear the costs together. We ask each participant to make a financial contribution, among other things, for overnight stays and vegan dinners. But we don’t want this financial contribution to be a barrier for people to participate. If costs are a problem, please contact us. We’ll figure it out together.

Information about the financial contribution can be found here.

Arrival and return trip

Of course we will not let the arrival in Esbjerg pass unnoticed. We are contemplating on a nice conclusion or action on the last (bicycle-free) day of the Wadden Cycling Tour. After that, it is up to everyone to return home on their own, or to continue their journey. Of course we can, among ourselves, make arrangements to travel back together.

There are train and bus stations in Esbjerg.

The route

The tour will take (according to our current schedule) 21 days, divided into 3 tracks of about a week each. The last day of each route is a rest day. We are planing the tour in such a way that all 3 tracks end in a village or city with public transport, for those who’ll be leaving or joining the group. You can register for 1, 2 or 3 of the tracks below.

Cycling along for one or a few days is of course also possible. You can choose to do so without officially registering. But emailing us that you are joining somewhere is appreciated!

If you do choose to register for a full route and only cycle part of it, you can of course use the overnight places arranged by us and the vegan dinner. However, we cannot give you a discount on the financial contribution.

Track 1

Texel (NL) - Wilhelmshaven (DE)

Saturday 1 july

Start at the island of Texel.

Sunday 2 July – Saturday 8 July

In 7 stages we’ll cycle from the island of Texel to Wilhelmshaven in Germany.

Sunday 9 July

Rest-day for those who are also cycling the next track. And for people who will join the group to cycle along for track 2 from here, the possibility to join the group.

Where we will stay in the evenings on this track depends on where we can find places to sleep. We will therefore announce the exact schedule later!

Track 2

Wilhelmshaven (DE) - Glückstadt (DE)

Monday 10 July – Friday 14 July

In 5 stages we’ll cycle from Wilhelmshaven to Glückstadt in Germany.

Saturday 15 July

Rest-day for those who are also cycling the next track. And for people who will join the group to cycle along for track 3 from here, the possibility to join the group.

Where we will stay in the evenings on this track depends on where we can find places to sleep. We will therefore announce the exact schedule later!

Track 3

Glückstadt (DE) - Esbjerg (DK)

Sunday 16 July – Thursday 20 July

In 5 stages we’ll cycle from Glückstadt to Esbjerg in Denmark.

Friday 21 July

Final day! Celebration and maybe an action?

Where we will stay in the evenings on this track depends on where we can find places to sleep. We will therefore announce the exact schedule later!

The Wadden Cycling Tour of 1978